If You Smoke Pot to Reduce Anxiety, It Turns Out There's a Perfect Amount To Use
Marijuana is being legalized for recreational use throughout the US, but how much should you smoke? Our friends at YourTango researched the perfect amount to reduce anxiety without inducing paranoia.
I smoke pot.
I smoke it for three reasons.
I don't smoke pot because I'm a lazy stoner whose only passion is Doritos. I don't smoke it to seem cool or get totally out of my mind like some wild co-ed.
I do it because it is one of very few things that can alleviate some of the major anxiety symptoms from which I suffer.
While I know that there are people who enjoy using marijuana suppositories in their vaginas, and marijuana lube to help loosen them up, I'm pretty old fashioned when it comes to how I introduce marijuana into my body: I use a vaporizer.
My reasons for smoking marijuana are not unique. A Yahoo News-Marist survey found 37% of participants cited this stress-relieving benefit, compared to 19% who turn to marijuana for pain relief, 16% who use it "to have fun" and 3% who report its effectiveness both as a sleep aid and a sexual booster.
I avoided smoking marijuana for a really long time. A huge part of why I avoided it was for the same reason I have avoided other illegal recreational drugs. It wasn't out of fear of being caught or arrested. It's because I am convinced that the drugs will trigger a panic attack in me, or worse case scenario, make me so anxious and fraught that I never get normal again.
A lot of people smoke weed just to relax, and I know a fair amount of anxious people who credit medical marijuana with helping them live with and manage their symptoms.
That said, I have also heard horror stories about my anxious friends having serious panic attacks after smoking weed. Everyone talks about finding a happy medium, managing your anxiety without triggering a panic attack, but to me when it comes to my brain's chemistry, it seemed a little foolhardy to play a guessing game when it came to how much weed I should be ingesting.
I wanted science, I wanted hard answers. However, eventually, with the advice of my therapist and a licensed doctor, I realized that trying a low dose of marijuana medicinally might hold the answer for me. I wasn't sure what low dose meant, but luckily because I saw a doctor, the numbers were taken care of for me.
That hasn't kept me from keeping up with all the news about pot for anxiety, though. Lately, there's been a lot more legitimate scientific research about weed and how it can affect the anxious mind. A recent study gave different groups varying amounts of weed and put them in a high-stress, two-hour interview environment and here's what they found:
"Compared to those who took the placebo, the 7.5 mg group experienced less distress in the course of the TSST and were less likely to view it as 'threatening and challenging.' The stress they experienced also didn't last long. Things didn't go so well for the 12.5 mg cohort, however, who reported 'increased negative mood' before and throughout the test; they were also more disposed to find the task threatening and challenging, even before they had begun. Finally, they demonstrated impaired performance on the test itself."
So there you have it. If you want a real number to hold on to, 7.5 mg of THC is all that is required to make a person feel relaxed.
To put that number in real terms, smoking half an average-sized joint, a person will consume 33 to 39 milligrams of THC. Translation: Just a couple of puffs should do you. So don't go overboard.
If you're a person like me who loves the positive effects of marijuana on your anxiety and your sex life, it turns out that less is absolutely more. Obviously, this is just one study, but if you've held back from pot as an option like I did, you might find news like this super exciting.
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